I know this not the usual blog post you would expect from me, given the negative energy I spew on this blog sometimes. As someone who lives abroad, I fell like it’s my responsibility to educate those who come here to read my relatable adventures.
Religion is a very sensitive topic and is placed under the same subject like politics. It’s a no go zone. and for this reason, some Africans move here and suffer before they can find a church or whatever religious practices suits them. Watu wa dini ya msambwa, Jehova Wanyonyi and prophet Owuor, I don’t know if this post is for you but you can still try.
So how does one keep on keeping on…
1. Connect with a local faith community as soon as you can
Get plugged into a local church either with of expats, locals, or a campus fellowship, find a place to get connected and do it within your first couple weeks. Connecting to a local faith community isn’t just necessary for your own spiritual health; it’s an opportunity to experience what God is doing in a different part of the world.
2. Be a learner
While abroad, it’s likely you’ll discover all kinds of cultural idiosyncrasies—from breakfast preferences (ever tried vegemite on toast?) to concepts of time (does showing up “on time” mean arriving 10 minutes early, on the dot, or 20 minutes past?). Don’t be quick to make judgments or draw conclusions about the things you see—instead, ask questions and listen for how people respond.
3. Let relationships trump travel
There will be many opportunities to travel while you are abroad, but don’t overlook investing in relationships with people locally as well.
4. Pay attention to the people God puts in your path
Sometimes the structure of a study abroad program or the length of your stay may make it difficult to build relationships with people locally. This might mean you’ll need to make an extra effort to build a relationship with locals or it could be these are the people God’s calling you to invest in for this time. Everyone studying abroad is sharing a similar experience and typically away from his or her support networks, so friendships can develop quickly. In many ways, learning from Jesus while studying abroad isn’t a whole lot different from when you’re at home. Keep asking God to show you what he’s doing; be open to learning and ready for surprises!